Characteristics of confidence and preparedness in paramedics in metropolitan, regional, and rural Australia to manage mental-health-related presentations: a cross-sectional study
journal contributionposted on 11.03.2021, 04:59 by Katherine Emond, Melanie Bish, M Savic, DI Lubman, T McCann, K Smith, George Mnatzaganian
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Mental-health-related presentations account for a considerable proportion of the paramedic’s workload in prehospital care. This cross-sectional study aimed to examine the perceived confidence and preparedness of paramedics in Australian metropolitan and rural areas to manage mental-health-related presentations. Overall, 1140 paramedics were surveyed. Pearson chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to compare categorical variables by sex and location of practice; continuous variables were compared using the non-parametric Mann–Whitney and Kruskal–Wallis tests. Perceived confidence and preparedness were each modelled in multivariable ordinal regressions. Female paramedics were younger with higher qualifications but were less experienced than their male counterparts. Compared to paramedics working in metropolitan regions, those working in rural and regional areas were generally older with fewer qualifications and were significantly less confident and less prepared to manage mental health presentations (p = 0.001). Compared to male paramedics, females were less confident (p = 0.003), although equally prepared (p = 0.1) to manage mental health presentations. These results suggest that higher qualifications from the tertiary sector may not be adequately preparing paramedics to manage mental health presentations, which signifies a disparity between education provided and workforce preparedness. Further work is required to address the education and training requirements of paramedics in regional and rural areas to increase confidence and preparedness in managing mental health presentations.